PhD Studentship: Effect of Inorganic Bases in Catalytic Coupling Reactions

University of Leeds

Number of awards: 1

Deadline: 31 May 2018

Key benefits: Training in catalytic research and physical organic chemistry; training at the interface of chemistry and chemical engineering; world-class seminar programme.

Supervisor(s): Contact Dr Bao N. Nguyen to discuss this project further informally.

Project description

Catalytic coupling reactions are amongst the most important tool in modern synthetic technology. They often require the use of an inorganic base to neutralise the acid by-product in these reactions. However, the inorganic bases are often more intimately involved in the catalytic mechanism and base screening/optimization is an essential part of reaction development. On the other hand, rational selection of the base based on their basicity and solubility is still not possible, making base selection a trial-and-error process. Recent studies in Nguyen group further identified the morphology and particle size of the inorganic base to be critical parameters affecting the reaction mechanism and outcome [1].

In this project, the student will systematically investigate the effect of inorganic bases on a number of important catalytic reactions. Evaluation of reaction kinetics and outcomes will provide rational links with the base’ basicity, solubility, morphology and particle size. Where appropriate, the chemical interaction between the base’ cation (e.g. Ag, Cs) and catalytic intermediates will be probed and characterized.

The knowledge gained in these studies will be used to rationally select suitable inorganic bases for industrially relevant reactions. Suitable processes may be taken into flow, exploiting the state-of-the-art flow reactors developed within the Institute of Process Research & Development (iPRD) for multiphasic systems.

The project is best suited to a student with strong background and interest in organic chemistry and catalysis. No prior knowledge of mechanistic studies, process design or flow chemistry is required, as training will be provided for these important transferable skills. The student will also benefit from interdisciplinary training and seminar programmes in process chemistry as a member of the Institute of Process Research & Development.

More detail on this and other projects in asymmetric catalysis, recovery of precious metals, or coupling reactions will be made available by contacting Dr Bao N.Nguyen.

[1] G. J. Sherborne, S. Adomeit, R. Menzel, J. Rabeah, A. Brückner, M. R. Fielding, C. E. Willans, B. N. Nguyen, Chem. Sci., 2017, 8, 7203.

Entry requirements

Applications are invited from candidates with or expecting a minimum of a UK upper second class honours degree (2:1), and/ or a Master's degree in a relevant science subject such as (but not limited to) chemistry or chemical engineering.

How to apply

Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the university's website. Please state clearly in the research information second that the PhD you wish to be considered for is 'Effect of inorganic bases in catalytic coupling reactions' as well as Dr Bao N.Nguyen as your proposed supervisor.

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University's minimum English Language requirements.

If you require any further information please contact the Graduate School Office, e:

We welcome scholarship applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.

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